Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Al Escobar : Tighten Up

Al Escobar moved from Barranquilla, Columbia to New York City at a young age. After working with Tito Puente, Miguelito Valdes, and Vicentico Valdes, he led his own band in California, became musical director for Eartha Kitt, and played at the Stardust in Las Vegas. El Sonido Moderno de Al Escobar was recorded in New York City and is part of that city's boogaloo latin soul craze of the late 1960s. The album also includes the cover "Tighten Up" originally by Archie Bell & The Drells.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Barrio Jazz Gang : Choc A Blok Avenue

The Barrio Jazz Gang's debut album "Spectrum " released in 2001 reveals the band's crossover between elements of jazz and elements of club-dance music. A distinctive Mediterranean and Latin American touch colours the themes and melodies throughout the album. Roby "Jazzman" Colella and Stefano Micarelli are the two pillars of the band. Other members are Aldo Bassi (trumpet), Paolo Innarella (sax and flutes) and singer Paola Fortini, all established musicians from the italian jazz scene. Echoes of retro-jazz, of bossa-nova and of african rhythms make up the texture of this musical excursion, crossing a great deal of boundaries along the way.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fred Wesley and The Horny Horns : Four Play

One of the funkiest post JB's tracks written by George Clinton, Fred Wesley and Bootsy Collins !
Wesley signed with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic in time for their seminal Mothership Connection LP. And unlike James Brown, Clinton encouraged his collaborators to pursue their own projects, even co-writing most of the songs comprising the trombonist's 1977 official solo debut, A Blow for Me, A Toot for You, credited to Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ann Robinson : You Did It

Originally issued in 1969 on Sonny Hopson's All Brothers label.
A seriously rare Philly funk 45... The instrumentation backing is done by the Freedom Now Brothers who's instrumental version of this "Sissy Walk" was sampled by Fatboy Slim for one of his pop songs.
This is without a doubt one of those alltime classic sisterfunk anthems.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nuyorican Soul : I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun

Originally composed by Rotary Connection in 1971 and reworked by Nuyorican Soul in 1996.
Nuyorican Soul is the project of Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzales, also known as Masters at Work. With Nuyorican Soul they worked extensively with top musicians like Roy Ayers, Vincent Montana Jr, George Benson, Tito Puente and Jocelyn Brown in a variety of styles including latin, jazz and disco.
This unique combination of musicians resulted in a masterpiece, a self-titled album under the name Nuyorican Soul, including original tracks as cover versions of the performers the duo were working with. A must have !

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ben Westbeech : So Good Today

BBC radio dj Gilles Peterson picked up this first single of Ben Westbeech and this lead to a record deal and the succes of Gilles Petersons new label Brownswood Recordings.
His debut album "Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life" was released in March 2007.
The result is a potent cocktail blended by, and filtered through, Ben’s creative and multi-talented musicianship. Rather than confine himself to the role of singer-songwriter, classically trained Ben also takes the credit for playing most of the instruments, and for much of the mixing and production of the album too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sharon Jones : Keep on Looking (Kenny Dope Mix)

You can not imagine how much joy this record gave us until today ! Dancefloor bomb and pleasure guaranteed ! With a stumping rhytm section, tight rythm guitars, a fantastic horn section and superfunky bass the track catches a vibe so hot, blowing hard around the dancefloor !!
Nuyorican Soul Kenny Dope at work. Top Notch !!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Curtis Mayfield : Move On Up

If you're feeling a little bit down, this is what you'll need !
"Move on Up" is a song from the 1970 debut album "Curtis", the beginning of his solo career after he left "The Impressions".
The great Curtis Mayfield was a pioneering voice in the black pride movement. Mayfield's "We're a Winner", a Number 1 soul hit which also reached the Billboard pop Top 20, became an anthem of the black power and black pride movements when it was released in late 1967, much as his earlier "Keep on Pushing" (whose title is quoted in the lyrics of "We're a Winner") had been an anthem for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

James Brown : The Boss

"Paid the cost to be the boss
Look at me
you know what you see,
you see a bad mutha"

"The Boss" is the background music where Tommy Gibbs is shot while crossing a street corner.

Written for the blaxploitation film "Black Caesar" in 1973 and appears on spot 5 of the soundtrack. Written with the help of Fred Wesley, who made his first steps into filmmusic industry with this one.
The song has countlessly been sampled by several producers : for Ice-T's "You Played Yourself", and also for Trick Daddy's "Take It To Da House". More recently, by The Alchemist for Prodigy's album Return of the Mac. The song is also sampled on Nas' album God's Son on "Get Down".

Monday, December 14, 2009

Marvin Gaye : What's Goin' On (live)

This live performance comes from the long out-of-circulation 1973 film, "Save The Children" with James Jamerson on bass.
"What's Goin' On" is the tenth studio album by Marvin Gaye released in 1971. The album is told from the point of view of a Vietnam War veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice, suffering and hatred.
What's Going On was the first album on which Motown Records' main studio band, the group of session musicians known as the Funk Brothers, received an official credit. Featuring introspective lyrics about drug abuse, poverty and the Vietnam War, the album was also the first to reflect the beginning of a new trend in soul music. What's Going On was both an immediate commercial and critical success and has endured as a classic of early-1970s soul. In worldwide critics/artists and public surveys, it has been voted as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history and is considered to be one of the greatest albums ever made.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ramsey Lewis : Wade In the Water

"The great performer" is the title that Ramsey carried with him along his musical career, reflecting his incredible performance style and music selections, somewhere in between gospel, classic and jazz.
By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with interpretations of songs "The In Crowd", a song written by Billy Page, and the old spiritual "Wade in the Water". Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the '70s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups. The album has been certified gold in the US.

"Wade in the Water" :

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stevie Wonder : Superstition

"Superstition" is immediately recognizable for its opening drum beat, which was performed by Wonder, complete with a noticeable bass-drum pedal squeak throughout the track. Its notably iconic funky clavinet riffs was also performed by Wonder. The song also heavily features brass instruments and saxophones, notably a trumpet lead by Trevor Laurence, and the electronic Arp and Moog synthesizer sounds that Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff helped to create for the album.
Wonder's music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier Motown pop to a more personal style. This shift had been evident on his two prior albums, but it was Talking Book, and "Superstition" in particular that brought the new style to the awareness of the public in general.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fred Wesley : House Party

During the 1960s and 1970s he was a pivotal member of James Brown's bands, playing on many hit recordings. His slippery riffs and pungent, precise solos, complementing those of saxophonist Maceo Parker, gave Brown's R&B, soul, and funk tunes their instrumental punch. In the 1970s he also served as band leader and musical director of Brown's band the J.B.'s and did much of the composing and arranging for the group. He left Brown's band in 1975 and spent several years playing with George Clinton's various Parliament-Funkadelic projects, even recording a couple of albums as the leader of a spin-off group, The Horny Horns.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kutiman : Music is Ruling my World

Our respect for the things that Kutiman sends out to the world is deep ! What a talent !
He blew everyone away with his Thru You project earlier this year, a compilation of songs created with unrelated youtube video samples. If you haven't seen this you should definetely go here : you'll be amazed !
Music is Ruling his world indeed ! He only started releasing music since 2006. Music is Ruling my World came out in 2007... later that year came his debut album.
Kutiman is probably working on his second album right now, we are looking forward to that !!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bar Kays : Soul Finger

The Bar Kays were a backing band for Stax Records chosen in 1967 by Otis Redding for his band. Soul Finger was their first single released earlier that year on April 14th and topped the Bilboard charts. The children shouting "Soul Finger" in the track, were caught from the street next to the studio... The idea of letting them sing "Soul Finger" came from Isaac Hayes and David Porter. The band paid them with Coca Cola.
Unfortunately, Otis and his band died in a plane crash in December that year...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Jackson Sisters : I Believe In Miracles

A rich rare groove classic, a legacy thanks to their wholly unique blend of soul and amazing harmony vocals! The Jackson Sisters were essentially a soul vocal group, but with a style that tended to skew hard and gritty. Occasionally, that grit dipped into full on, furious funk, the arrangements are quite raw and hard!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cymande : Brothers on the Slide

It doesn't get any better than this !! What a song ! 
Taken from the album "Promised Heights" (1974) probably the best album of the band.
Cymande were an eclectic funk band who released records in the beginning of the 70s.
The group developed a subtle and complex, deep funk style influenced by African music, American soul and UK rock of the time. Cymande can now be seen as one of the most sophisticated of the funk acts that evolved in the early 1970s. By the mid-70s the band members were going their separate ways and the group was disbanded in 1974. It wasn't until 20 years later that they reaped any financial rewards, as their music became a popular source for samplers. Perhaps the band's best known recording is the soulful dancefloor filler called "Bra", which was later sampled by the American hip-hop group De La Soul and used as a breakbeat record by the godfathers of hip-hop Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Funkadelic : (Not Just) Knee Deep

Funkadelic recorded and released its most successful and influential album, "One Nation Under a Groove" in 1978, adding former Ohio Players lead and keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison and reflecting a more melodic dance-based sound. The title track spent six weeks at #1 on the R&B charts, around the time that Parliament was enjoying the #1 R&B singles "Flash Light" and "Aqua Boogie." "Uncle Jam Wants You" in 1979 continued Funkadelic's new more electronic sound production. The album contains a fifteen-minute version of "(Not Just) Knee Deep", an edited version of which topped the R&B charts, featuring former Spinners lead singer PhilippƩ Wynne.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The O'Jays : I Love Music

A classic !
In 1972, The O'Jays finally scored with their first million-seller, "Back Stabbers", from the gold album of the same name. By this time, original member Bobby Massey had also departed, leaving the group a trio. This album produced several more hit singles.
They became known as "The Mighty O'Jays" due to their exciting, emotion-packed stage performances, led by the dynamic Levert, and the cool, multi-range vocals of Walter Williams, coupled with the matinee idol looks and smooth first tenor voice of William Powell.
During the remainder of the 1970s the O'Jays continued releasing chart-topping singles, including "I Love Music". Original member William Powell died of cancer in 1977 at the age of just 35.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free The Robots : Jazzhole

Producer Chris Alfaro has applied his advanced knowledge of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop and electronic music to his "Free the Robots" solo project, and the diligent studying and crate-digging have paid serious dividends. Call him an old-school avant-gardist.
The track "Jazzhole" comes with the second EP from 2006. These tracks swing and funk and bliss out and aren’t afraid to wave their Bollywood or pre-bop-jazz freak edges.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Buscemi : Ramiro's Theme

Ramiro's theme comes with Buscemi's debut album "Our Girl in Havana"; his best album so far.
Buscemi has released 4 fully-fledged CDs and one album with the Italian pianoplayer and composer Michel Bisceglia for the famous Blue Note label. Also there were 2 jazz-compilations he did for that same label. Buscemi's skill at turning his hand to basically anything is born out by the way he manages to combine a wide range of musical styles. Buscemi's groove is worldwide acknowledged and his fame as remixer too. The man produced already 40 mixes, he reworked tracks for bands as Madredeus and Calexico.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quantic : Not So Blue

This is definitely one of our favourite tracks of all time ! Unbelievable how much feeling and depth you kind find in an instrumental track like this.
Will Holland is one of the most talented and prolific artists in the world of alternative dance music today.
He has enjoyed consistent success with Quantic, releasing his first album, The 5th Exotic in the summer of 2001. It was picked up on by some of the most respected names in underground music. Richard Dorfmiester, Mr Scruff and LTJ Bukem all rated it very highly, not surprising when tunes like “Common Knowledge” and the near classic “Life in the Rain” had blazed across dance floors all over Europe.

He built on this acclaim with the release of Apricot Morning less than a year later, dispelling any talk of “the difficult second album”. His sound seemed to expand in every direction on ‘Apricot Morning’ and he became the first Tru Thoughts artist to collaborate with Alice Russell; Gilles Peterson ranked it amongst his albums of the year. The track Not so Blue comes from this album..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Diplomats Of Solid Sound : Hurt Me So (Lack Of Afro Remix)

I dropped this track to introduce, for the ones who never heard of him, Lack Of Afro ! And the man has a new album released the past month.
The simply stunning follow up to the highly acclaimed debut album “Press On”, Lack Of Afro combines his live musicianship & top notch studio production skills with rappers and vocalists into a skillful combination of compositions blending funk, hip hop and soul into a steamy stew of a breakbeat bonanza.

As a multi instrumentalist, in-demand producer and re-mixer, a DJ with his finger on the cutting edge of contemporary sounds, and an ear tastefully cocked to the hippest soul, jazz and funk music from the 60´s and 70´s, Adam Gibbons, the young man at the centre of the Lack Of Afro phenomenon, has already established an unrivalled reputation as one of the most crucial names at work in funk and dance music today.

The Lack Of Afro story began back in 2006 after excited word spread to the Freestyle Records offices about the sounds Adam was creating, Freestyles´ head honcho DJ Adrian Gibson instantly signed him and released the stunning debut single “Wait A Minute”. One of the labels fastest selling 12”s ever, it has gone onto sell massive numbers worldwide and appeared on countless compilations. The subsequent 2007 album “Press On” fulfilled his early promise, with Adam playing nearly all the instruments himself. Hailed by iDJ magazine as “one of the greatest albums of the modern funk era” the release passed into contemporary music folklore.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gerardo Frisina : Descarga

Gerardo Frisina is an Italian dj and record collector. This track is taken from his debut album in 2001 `Ad Lib` or `At your own pleisure`, an expression often used by jazz musicians to interprete the freedom of expression. This album represents endless hours of exploring diverse musical genres. Without doubt, this is a superb blend of Brazilian, Afro-Cuban & Jazz. Just lovely !

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kaleta & Akoya Afrobeat : The Spirit Of Fela Is Alive And Well!

With a furious storm of thundering congas and the deep boom of the Kaleta drum, the Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble takes the stage with an explosion of dance rhythms, 14 pieces make up this fully fledged funk factory. That means five drummers, two guitarists, keys, bass, and a full horn section : Madness !
Kaleta, the singer, real name Leon Ligan Majek, hails from Porto Novo in Nigeria and lived most of his adolescent life in Lagos. Kaleta has played, toured and recorded with the likes of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Lauryn Hill.
This track first came to label manager Nik Weston´s attention in the early part of 2007 and it´s taken this long to get it out on the Mukatsuku label. The original track 'Fela Dey' now re named ´The Sprit Of Fela Is Alive & Well´ was an epic afro masterpiece of over 14 minutes. GUYNAMUKAT (the production duo of Guynamite and Nik Weston ) edited that version down to half losing none of energy; the result is a killer afro beat monster tried and trusted now on the dance floors all over the world.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brass Construction : Movin'

Formed in Brooklyn, New York in 1968, and funky as hell !
Brass Construction were the brainchild of keyboards player and singer Randy Muller.
In 1975, their debut album changed the face of dance music and is still a huge influence some 30 years on. Randy originally formed the band in Brooklyn, New York, under the name of Dynamic Soul.
Renamed Brass Construction, the nine-piece group were signed by United Artists in 1975. With their tight horn section and brief, chanted vocals, the group's first release, 'Movin', topped the R & B charts and was a pop Top 20 hit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kraak en Smaak : Money in the Bag

Time for a classic club track !
This 12" was the big breakthrough for the Kraak en Smaak boys in 2001. Their first single came from the album Boogie Angst, a must have album !
From there it just went up for the guys from Holland, they quickly established a place as topproducers in the music scene by making several remixes for names like Jamiroquai, Dorfmeister, Mark Rae etc. etc. 
Although this song is built around a sample from Tommy Stewart's  "Bump & Hustle" it's good enough, or even better then the original.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band : Bukom Mashie

There aren't many songs where just the drum fill is awesome, but this is one of them. A clattering pile of percussion starts at a frantic tempo, and then that simple fill ushers in a staggering bass line. Saxophones dart from side-to-side avoiding stabbing, voluminous horns; the funky beat swings, bobbing up and down like a car with soft suspension. Sax and flute solos and chanting vocals are all swept up in Sulley's wild arrangement, a sort of miniaturized take on Fela's cinemascope big-band funk.
It's amazing that the song is from 1973 and was never released until 2003, when the Sound Way folks scooped the weathered masters off a pressing plant shelf. Sulley now leads Ghana's national symphony orchestra and teaches percussion to poor children in Accra.

Dj Shadow : This Time

DJ Shadow, real name Josh Davis (Hayward, Californiƫ, 1 januari 1973) turntablist and producer.

This Time is the second track from the album "The Outsider" released in 2006, a kind of controversial release amongst the hardcore Dj Shadow fans. The albums total incoherence is actually kind of impressive... for me the track 'This Time' is an outstanding soul track, amazingly enough a 2006 release !

Alice Russell : All Over Now

Alice Russell, our favourite white soul singer, what a voice !
Formerly signed to the quality Tru Thoughts label, her latest album "Pot of Gold" with a breathtaking "Crazy" cover, released on Six Degrees.
The track All over Now is from her 2005 album, incorporating aspects of gospel, hip hop, jazz, funk, northern soul, broken beat and electronica, ‘My Favourite Letters’ raised Alice Russell’s international profile, cemented Tm Juke’s reputation as a gifted producer and went on to become one of Tru Thoughts’ all-time best sellers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Quantic & Mr Scruff : It's Dancing Time

This was the b side of the 'Sweetsmoke' 12", and Mr Scruff's first collaboration 
with Quantic in 2002.

Mr Scruff & Quantic 'Its Dancing Time'

Ann Peebles : I'm gonna tear your playhouse down

Ann Peebles (born April 27, 1947, St. Louis, Missouri, United States) is an internationally acclaimed singer andsongwriter, best known for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Two of her better known songs are "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" and "I Can't Stand the Rain", popularised by cover versions by Paul Young and Eruption.


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